• Kyodo


A man on trial for murdering 19 residents and injuring 26 other people in 2016, at a knife rampage at a care home for the mentally disabled, said Wednesday he would not launch an appeal regardless of the ruling.

During the trial at the Yokohama District Court in Kanagawa Prefecture, the defense team for Satoshi Uematsu, a 30-year-old former employee of the facility, argued in a closing statement that he should not be held responsible for his actions due to mental incompetence.

The defense cast doubt on the results of a psychiatric assessment, pointing out that the doctor who performed it had not taken into account a marijuana-induced psychotic disorder.

Uematsu was diagnosed with “personality disorder” in the assessment, leading prosecutors to determine that he could be held criminally responsible.

But the defense team said that due to the use of marijuana, Uematsu’s “personality changed drastically from 2015” and he began to think disabled people were worthless.

“We cannot say that he genuinely understood the meaning of his crimes. … He was driven by a mental disorder triggered by marijuana and could not judge right from wrong,” the defense team said.

Prosecutors on Monday insisted that the influence of marijuana had not played a role in the planning and execution of the rampage, and that the defendant should be held fully responsible for his actions.

They demanded the death penalty for Uematsu, saying he had continued to assert that disabled people did not have human rights and had committed an unprecedented mass murder.

The court is scheduled to deliver the ruling on March 16.

According to the indictment, Uematsu fatally stabbed 19 residents and injured 24 others at Tsukui Yamayuri En in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, in the early hours of July 26, 2016.

He is also accused of binding five employees to handrails in a corridor, causing two of them injuries.

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